Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Aside

Good news: Virginia is getting rid of its easily hacked black box voting machines

This is a very positive development for fair elections:

Remember Virginia’s easily hacked voting machines that we wrote about more than two years ago? It seems that the state has learned its lesson about the potential vulnerability of voting machines and has decided to ditch all of its direct-voting machines and replace them with ones “that leave a paper trail”.

The State Board of Elections decided in a meeting on Friday that it would replace all of its current generation of voting machines that are vulnerable and plans to replace them all in time for its gubernatorial elections in November.

Here’s the recommendation from the Department of Elections. It declares:

The Department of Elections officially recommends that the State Board of Elections decertify all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE or touchscreen) voting equipment.

This recommendation is being made for multiple reasons, including the current security environment surrounding election administration, recently released public reports with confidential information related to unauthorized access to DREs at DefCon’s “Voting Machine Hacking Village,” the fact that no DREs in use in Virginia have a voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT), and the initial security assessment review of various DRE equipment conducted by the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA).

In sum, the Department of Elections believes that the risks presented by using this equipment in the November General Election are sufficiently significant to warrant immediate decertification to ensure the continued integrity of Virginia elections.

Way to go, Virginia! It’s about time more states took steps to end black box voting. The sanctity of our elections is extremely important. All states need elections systems that have a verifiable voter paper trail. The existence of paper ballots and paper records allows for a manual hand recount in the event of an extremely close election, like the one Washington State had in 2004 for Governor.